Изображения страниц

persons which it introduces.

They will be pleased at recognizing in Shakspere, or Gray, or Wordsworth, or Bulwer, the personages of whose acts or pretensions, as treated in the narrative, they have perhaps become almost tired; and it may not unreasonably be hoped that the poetry of Edward's Welsh campaign, of the rival Roses, of the gullen Curfew, of the Invincible Armada, will induce them to make further researches into writers of such transforming power. It may be observed also, that the teacher would find the passages given, and others which his own reading would furnish, valuable for examination, without being dry. That young person must be tolerably acquainted with the course of English History, who, in his class, can accompany Gray's bard with a clear account of the characters and events mentioned in it: and his class-fellows would not be fatigued during the process, because the questions and answers would arise naturally out of the passage on which they are occupied at the time.


6. Two inquiries relating to this history remain :- Why are so many events, and persons, and places mentioned ? and, Why are no more mentioned than occur in these pages ? To the former of these inquiries it may be replied, Several events are mentioned which are treated of more slightly than they would at first seem to deserve: but it is hoped that, in many instances, curiosity will be thus excited, and that the scholar will be induced to pursue his inquiries further, by finding that much remains to be known on several things in which he has been made to take an interest. Besides, it is much more easy to read a larger history when one has already become somewhat acquainted with the principal dramatis persone, the plot, and the scenery, than when the greater part of these are quite strange and unknown. England would be a new and

bewildering country to a traveller who, before he set out, had never heard of any but the county towns. He set out to see the towns of England; but here are other towns of which no notice is taken in his Guide-Book. “Surely," he would say, "I ought to have heard of Manchester as well as Lancaster, of Birmingham as well as Warwiek. The Guide-Book I studied was a most defective one.” The case of the historical student is somewhat similar. Give him a meagre compendium, and, when he commences a larger history, he is discouraged-he is undertaking an entirely new study: but let him be tolerably furnished beforehand, and he cheerfully fills up a drawing of which he has already sketched the outline.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

And an answer is thus supplied to the second question, Why are no more events, and persons, and places mentioned, than occur in these pages? The history is written for youthful students, of whom two things must be said : Ist, Their memory must not be taxed unreasonably; and 2ndly, They must be left to fill in their history for themselves. The young

like to make discoveries—to compose, in fact and to feel that they are doing so. This they can never do, if every thing that can be said on a subject is laid before them at once. They love to add something here and there for themselves—to complete, by degrees, their knowledge of an event or course of events, or their conception of an historical personage. They like (if we may borrow an analogy from the fine arts) to have laid before them, at first, Wilkie's original sketch of one of his celebrated pictures; then, his second draught, containing perhaps some new figure, and bringing out some exquisite trait of character not visible before; then his more matured drawing, with nicer touches still; and, last of all, his finished effort of art. It is hoped that this will account for, if no

[ocr errors]

excuse, the occasional want of detail, which, after all, compendium like the present must obviously exhibit.

7. No effort has been made to write an original history, or to display learning and research. The aim both of the Author and of the Reviser has been to exhibit simply and plainly the leading outlines of the History of a Land, in which God has graciously planted the Church wherein they labour. They will be satisfied, if, while they have performed their task faithfully, they have sometimes and in some degree directed their readers to “the Most High,” who "ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whom. soever He will."

March 21, 1849.

P.S. The Reviser has nothing to add to his statement made above, save an expression of thankfulness that the Revised Edition has been called for year by year, sometimes twice in a year, since 1849, and a hope that it may continue to be useful to the young. A few unimportant corrections have been made from time to time.

March 25, 1858.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »